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Yad Vashem On One Clear Day. The Story of Jewish Wolbrom

Remembering Wolbrom

The monument at the Wolbrom cemetery

The last Jews of Wolbrom were murdered in a ravine in the forest near the town. For many years the site was neglected and abandoned. Only a slim cement border marked the three mass graves, which had been overgrown by grass and vegetation.

In 1979 David Shapell (Schapelski) and his wife Fela, both Holocaust survivors, returned to Poland for the first time since the war. After visiting the mass graves in Wolbrom, the Shapell family decided to commemorate the site and its victims; they had the surface of the graves cemented, and erected a fence around them with a gate.

Since then, they have been returning every year, bringing their children and grandchildren with them.. They walk down the path that the Jews of Wolbrom took on that fateful day in September 1942, and visit the site of the mass graves where they remember their relatives who were murdered during the Holocaust:Benjamin and Chaya (nee Gelbard) Schapelski, and their daughters Yochevet and Rachel.
Three other children - David, Nathan and Sala - survived.

The sign at the entrance to the town pointing to the path leading to the forest and the location of the monument

The sign at the entrance to the town pointing to the path leading to the forest and the location of the monument.

The ravine where they graves are located. The narrow path leading down to the site is visible in the foreground; the vertical marker of one of the graves and the fences surrounding them can be seen in the center

The ravine where the graves are located. The narrow path leading down to the site is visible in the foreground; the vertical marker of one of the graves and the fences surrounding them can be seen in the center.

David Shapell is saying kaddish for his father, Benjamin Schapelski, who was killed in this site. Two of the mass graves are marked with horizontally placed plaques. The horizontally placed plaque is inscribed with a verse from a Polish poem by by Wladyslaw Broniewski

David Shapell is saying kaddish for his father, Benjamin Schapelski, who was killed in this site. Two of the mass graves are marked with horizontally placed plaques. The horizontally placed plaque is inscribed with a verse from a Polish poem by by Wladyslaw Broniewski

David Shapell is saying kaddish for his father, Benjamin Schapelski, who was killed in this site. Two of the mass graves are marked with horizontally placed plaques. The horizontally placed plaque is inscribed with a verse from a Polish poem by by Wladyslaw Broniewski.

“This needs to be engraved in stone
As well as in the Polish people’s memory
Our mutual home was destroyed
Our brethrens’ blood spilt
The execution wall in Dachau and Auschwitz joins us
Like the nameless graves and prisoners’ cells."

The third mass grave is marked by a vertical marker that was set up by the Polish authorities and bears the inscription: “Fellow Citizens and Jewish Martyrs, Residents of Wolbrom”

The third mass grave is marked by a vertical marker that was set up by the Polish authorities and bears the inscription: “Fellow Citizens and Jewish Martyrs, Residents of Wolbrom”.